Some Florida Blue customers haven't received insurance cards - WFLA News Channel 8

Some Florida Blue customers haven't received insurance cards

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - Some consumers who signed up and paid for health insurance to start on Jan. 1, 2014 say they still haven't been able to use their coverage.

The Florida Blue customers say they have not yet received insurance cards or ID numbers to present at doctors' offices.
For Danielle Hartley and her growing family, having health insurance is important.

Hartley, who is six months pregnant, signed up for a new health insurance plan through Florida Blue for herself, her husband and her two children this fall. But although she paid the premium so her coverage would start Jan. 1, Hartley still hasn't received insurance cards or an ID number.

"They're saying, ‘Don't worry, you have coverage,' but I don't have anything to show a health care provider, said Hartley.

After the push to get consumers across the country to sign up for health insurance to comply with the new Affordable Care Act, other Tampa Bay residents have also complained of delays in getting proof of insurance from Florida Blue, and trouble using their new coverage in the first few weeks of 2014.

Related content:  Affordable Care Act coverage


Asked about the problems customers were having, a spokesman for Florida Blue said in an e-mailed statement that, "Florida Blue is working diligently to process the high volume of enrollments that we have received through the Florida Marketplace."

He also said Florida Blue has added staff to work the applications and extended service hours for both call centers and retail centers.

"The marketplace enrollment process is new to everyone involved, and we are doing everything possible to help our members during this time," Florida Blue spokesman Steven Hendricks said in the e-mailed statement.

Hendricks has previously said policyholders should receive their cards by Jan. 15, but did not respond to an inquiry to confirm that date is still accurate.

Asked about the issues with new policyholders using their coverage, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said insurers had done a "yeoman's job" trying to make sure people had evidence they were covered.

"Lots of people came into the market at the very end of December and that's good news," she said. "The turnaround is a little trickier."

Sebelius said she thinks Florida Blue has "a strategy in place to try and get those cards as quickly and get a temporary card in the meantime."

Although Florida Blue has said it would work with medical facilities to confirm coverage if customers need to visit a doctor or hospital before they receive their cards, some say that process hasn't worked.

"Basically, they told me ‘We don't have time to sit on the phone.' They have a provider number, but they have to wait just like we do," Maria Biafore said about her conversation with a doctor's office.

Biafore said she missed an appointment with a doctor on Jan. 7 because she didn't yet have a card to show at the office.

"They said without an ID card, I could not see the doctor unless I paid out of pocket," said Biafore, who opted to reschedule the appointment.

Biafore received a temporary card over the weekend.

But for some others including Hartley, just getting an ID number is a challenge. Hartley says she was told the insurance company had not generated a number for her yet.

Florida Cancer Specialists also indicated it was aware of a delay in giving numbers to consumers. Asked about how the lack of cards or numbers was affecting appointments, Florida Cancer Specialists sent a statement from Sarah Cevallos, vice president of revenue cycle for FCS.

"It was brought to our attention, by the health plan (Florida Blue), that there was a delay in assigning member information (ID numbers) for patients who purchased a product through the healthcare exchange; therefore, verification of insurance coverage would not be accessible," Cevallos said in the statement. "We assured the health plan that as long as we were able to validate coverage through a local representative that we would, in good faith, not delay any patient appointments."

Cevallos also said Florida Blue had been responsive and the issue appeared to be isolated.

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